Roasted pumpkin seeds

So while trying new pumpkin themed recipes, I wondered if I can do anything with the seeds.  And it turns out it’s very easy.  You don’t even need to take the outer layer off if you cook it enough.

Simply scoop out the seeds, rinse and then spread them out over a roasting tray.  I left them like this for a while before roasting at 150C for 30 mins.

When 30 mins is up, drizzle some olive oil, salt, cumin and five spice seasoning over the seeds and toss to make sure they’re all covered and put in the oven for another 30 mins.

That’s it! Easy and delicious! I especially enjoyed the popping noises after the second session, which continued randomly after a few hours.

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Vegan pumpkin hummus recipe

When a pumpkin is 75p in the supermarket and most are being wasted for Halloween carvings, I thought I’d try and cook one.

Here is the first of my three recipes, having used the whole pumpkin (excluding skin and stringy bits). This recipe is also vegan friendly!
Hummus (however you choose spell it) is a popular dip, but I always find supermarket ones to be quite artificial. Here is a recipe I’ve tried and I made some pitta strips to go with it.

Pumpkin hummus

  • Half a medium pumpkin
  • 5 tbsp of tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 1 clove of garlic (crushed)
  • 2 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp of chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • Garnish: sesame seeds & coriander  (cilantro)
  1. Slice the top of the pumpkin and cut pumpkin in half. You can either cut into sections and roast in the oven at 220C for 30 mins with a bit of olive oil or put in a microwave friendly bowl with a little water and steam in a microwave. If you choose the microwave, then cook for 20-30 mins on medium until soft.
  2. Scoop flesh and either use a hand blender or food processor to blend.
  3. Add tahini, garlic, lemon juice, chilli powder, cumin, olive oil, salt and mix. Taste and adjust as needed.
  4. Serve and garnish with coriander and sesame seeds.

I created dippers too by slicing a couple of brown pitta breads and spreading these around a pan. Sprinkle olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin and toss.  Grill this under a medium high heat and toss. make sure you keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn!

Vegan pumpkin hummus with pitta bread dippers
Vegan pumpkin hummus with pitta bread dippers

Lunch at Banh Mi Bay

Having grown up in Asia, I always resort to Asian comfort food and a Vietnamese Pho always does the trick.

An authentic Pho is even better! Working in the city of London, there are many lunch choices and Banh Mi Bay offers some delightful food. I’ve only ever had a take away from here (which is an experience for Pho!) but their full menu looks amazing. Nice home cooked food!

Pho would take too long for me to reproduce as it is a broth cooked for several hours and takes patience! The rest is straightforward – raw beef or brisket and rice noodles with plenty of herbs, chilli, bean sprouts and topped with chilli and plum sauce. Delicious!

Prawn summer rolls are also amazing. I have memories of being introduced to these in Thailand and never being able to find it in London! I have found the ingredients and made it myself, maybe I’ll add this to the blog one day. Instead of greasy fried spring rolls, these are made with rice paper and literally taste of Summer as they’re so fresh!

Vietnamese Pho with beef brisket and prawn/pork summer rolls
Ragu alla Bolognese on tagliatelle with grated parmesan cheese.

1982 authentic ‘Ragu alla Bolognese’ for #WorldPastaDay

So with Jamie Oliver butchering the paella and Chef Antonio Carluccio claiming that the British don’t know how to cook spaghetti bolognese.  I thought that I’d try, what is claimed to be, the 1982 Chamber of Commerce of the city of Bologna approved and authentic recipe for ‘Ragu alla Bolognese

Ragu Bolognese on tagliatelle with grated parmesan cheese.
Ragu alla Bolognese on tagliatelle with grated parmesan cheese.

The main differences I found, were the use of pancetta, milk and served over tagliatelle.

In an ode to #WorldPastaDay, here’s the recipe in full, tried and tested.

I will admit that I bought the fresh tagliatelle as I don’t have a pasta machine and I don’t actually ave anywhere to fix it in my kitchen!


Ingredients:

  • 300g ground beef
  • 150g pancetta (this may not always be easy to find, took me 3 shops to find it)
  • 1/2 a medium carrot
  • 1/2 a celery stalk
  • 1/4 white onion
  • 1 can of tinned tomatoes
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup white or red wine, dry
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Fresh tagliatelle (or make your own!)
  • Grated parmesan cheese for topping
  1. Cut the pancetta into little cubes and melt in a saucepan
  2. Sweating vegetables for Ragu alla Bolognese
    Sweating vegetables for Ragu alla Bolognese

    Dice the vegetables (carrot, celery, onion), and add to the pancetta and leave to stew slowly.

  3. Add the ground beef and stir constantly, until the beef is browned.
  4. Add the wine and the tomatoes and leave to simmer for around two hours, adding in the milk a little at a time and adjusting the salt and black pepper.
  5. Serve over fresh tagliatelle with parmesan cheese.

You’ll have enough to serve around 3-4 people, but you can freeze this and save for a cold, grey day when you want some comfort food.

My mother’s recipe would have lots of red wine and chopped mushrooms in the mixture.  Both are great though!

 

marinaded kangaroo steak

Marinaded Kangaroo Recipe

One of the best things about visiting Lidl, is the exotic meats that you can get your hands on without the need to visit a specialist market.

So far, from Lidl, I’ve sampled ostrich, boar, reindeer, venison and I’m sure there are others! So the kangaroo from this recipe came from here too.

So why kangaroo?  People might think they’re cute and cuddly and wouldn’t dream of it but it’s a very healthy meat, low in saturated fat and full of iron.

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Red wine marinaded kangaroo steak with veggies

Ingredients:

  • 2 kangaroo steaks

  • 3 cups of red wine
  • 1 fresh chilli – chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic – chopped
  • 1 spring onion (salad onion) – sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  1. image-1770687460
    Marinaded kangaroo steak

    Marinade the kangaroo steaks whole in a bowl with 2 cups of red wine, garlic, thyme, olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper and leave for at least 1 hour. This will help to tenderise the meat.

  2. Cook the kangaroo on a very high heat for 4-5 minutes on each side.  Take care to judge the thickness but don’t overcook it or it will be tough!
  3. Once cooked, set aside to rest.  This is important to keep the juices within the meat and so they don’t run all over the plate.
  4. Use the other cup of wine and pour into the pan to make a sauce with the rest of the marinade left in the pan.  Keep stirring over a high heat until it has thickened.
  5. Slice kangaroo and serve!  I served mine with steamed broccoli and baby sweetcorn.

So enjoy! And let me know in the comments if you have tried this and any feedback!

Tramshed - Damien Hirst's Cock and Bull

Tramshed – a bit of ‘Cock and Bull’

What better way to start my new blog about food, than with a post about my birthday meal.  I always like to try a new/different type of restaurant which I know my friends will enjoy and whilst I know Tramshed isn’t new, it’s a great place for a birthday.

The menu mainly consists of chicken or steak (with a few exceptions and a vegetarian menu available on request).  We shared a few starters of Cock ‘n Bull croquettes and a butternut squash with goat’s curd and flatbread.

chateausteak
Chateau steak and salad

We were too occupied to take photos!

I opted for the chateau steak with a shallot and land cress salad with chips and multiple sauces for the steak.  A melt in the mouth meal with friendly staff and they definitely cater for birthdays with a few renditions throughout the night, accompanied by a slice of cake.

A meal here won’t necessarily break the bank either, depending on what you order.

The Damien Hirst ‘Cock and Bull’ centrepiece is obviously a crowd pleaser, attracting both comments of awe and disgust when you realise these are real animals preserved in formaldehyde.

Definitely a winner for group dinners!